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February 27, 2023

Why Heart Health Matters to Employers

Artemis Health

Alongside payroll and property, insurance benefits continue to remain one of the highest costs to employers year over year. While the costly price of insurance itself may not be surprising, the causes lurking behind high insurance premiums may be unexpected.

One-third of all annual U.S. deaths are directly attributed to cardiovascular disease (CVD). As a result, CVD remains one of the top three most expensive health conditions when it comes to employer costs. Not only does it currently cost American employers billions of dollars every single year, but that cost is also projected to triple by the year 2030—a 61% increase.

Although the rise in CVD costs is inevitable, that is not to say employers have their hands tied. With strategic planning and mindful programs, employers can work with their employees to curb the surge and save money throughout the years to come.

The Rise of Costly Heart Conditions

Heart conditions are often lumped into one singular category called cardiovascular diseases. Yet, the term CVD covers a wide range of possibilities.  

Take a look at the most common cardiovascular conditions:

  • Coronary heart disease: When blood flow is blocked by a fatty substance in the arteries
  • Stroke: When blood to the brain is reduced or cut off
  • Aortic disease: When the quality of the aorta is damaged (such as the aortic wall weakening)
  • Peripheral arterial disease: When an artery to your limbs, typically the legs, becomes blocked

Though the prevalence of these conditions can seem overwhelming, prevention is possible. Implementing healthier habits into daily life can reduce risk factors and ultimately stave off heart disease in adults. Meanwhile, if left untreated, the disease will continue to be the most prevalent condition in America.

The Financial Impact of Cardiovascular Disease

Our book of business found that 8% of total employer medical spend was on cardiovascular episodes along with 4% of employer pharmacy spend.

CVD, especially unmanaged cardiovascular disease, creates billions of dollars in medical costs every year. On average, $216 billion is spent within the healthcare system to directly treat CVD. Yet, that is not the only price incurred by the condition. CVD also costs employers $147 billion in lost productivity.

What do billions in lost productivity look like for employers? Employees with poor heart health generate this high cost to employers through time off for doctor visits, hospitalizations, short-term disability leaves, or general fatigue at work as a direct result of their health condition.  

Employers can curb the hours of lost productivity with proven, preventative measures that aid the overall health of employees and result in fewer hours away.

Combatting High Costs Through Health

While general healthcare costs will continue to increase, utilizing strategic wellness programs has been proven to not only improve the overall health of employees in the organization but also lower annual employer health costs too.  

You can mitigate CVD risk by having a healthy diet, getting physical exercise, and quitting damaging activities like excessive drinking. Preventative habits are useful and effective.  

For employers, this means providing access to educational resources as well as proper adoption and execution of health programs within companies to combat heart-related costs.

1. Education

The first step to better health? More knowledgeable employees. When workers understand the common risk factors for CVD and the importance of regular testing, they are more likely to utilize the tools and programs meant to assist with their health. Access to tools like blood pressure trackers, step counters, or nutrition calculators can help employees stay healthier and avoid developing heart diseases.

2. Preventative Care

Offering preventative care options and encouraging early screening are two more ways employers are reducing their total annual costs. Offering incentives and convenience, such as onsite biometric screenings or work-from-home flexibility for employees with yearly doctor checkup appointments, will lead employees to stay updated on their health.

3. Incentivized Wellness

The office can be a leading place to encourage healthy habit formation among workers. Common programs centered around losing weight, increasing physical activity, or quitting harmful habits such as smoking, can reduce medical costs by $3.27 for every $1 spent.

When rolling out new wellness programs, ensure it is well publicized so employees know the resources available to them. Adding an element of company-wide competition can also encourage the early adoption of new programs introduced to employees.

Don’t Wait to Start Saving

Inspiring a healthier workplace won’t be done overnight. However, genuine and earnest efforts toward creating a more health-conscious workforce will begin to shine through over time. A healthy work atmosphere will create a more stable environment as well as tangible financial benefits that can reduce employer healthcare costs.

Want to know how CVD is impacting your population? Contact us today.
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